If you’re looking for a lightweight jacket that’s not only stylish, but functional, then look no further than the MA-1 Skymaster this Spring.
Today I’m going to review the Alpha Industries MA-1 ‘Skymaster’ Lightweight Flight/Bomber Jacket— a contemporary variation of their original MA-1 flight jacket.
An issue many guys have with the original bomber is that it’s too bulky. Although they do have a slim version of the original, it’s mid-weight and still has much of the bulk. If you’re looking for a jacket with more of a slimmed down, tailored look, I recommend the lightweight MA-1 Skymaster bomber.
If you’re more of a visual kind of guy, I’ve got the video equivalent for you right here. Rather watch the lookbook? It begins at 6:03. And if you like it, please hit that thumbs up!
Okay, first let’s talk a little history of the flight/bomber jacket.
ALPHA INDUSTRIES MA-1 ABRIDGED HISTORY
As with many other articles of men’s clothing, the bomber jacket has its roots in the United States military.
Dating back to the 1950s, the iconic MA-1 flight/bomber jacket became the flight jacket of the U.S. Air Force, Navy pilots and ground crew. Later in the 1960s, Alpha Industries was awarded contracts by the Department of Defense to produce jackets for American service members during the Vietnam War.
Two notable changes to the MA-1 from its predecessor, the B-15:
- The MA-1 discarded the fur collar in favor of a knit collar because the fur collar interfered with the parachute harness worn by aviators.
- The MA-1 flight/bomber jacket was made reversible and added a bright orange lining. Its purpose was to be able to signal rescue personnel in the case of an airplane crash. (The MA-1 Skymaster does not have orange lining.)
Though the bomber jacket has seen its fair share of iterations, Alpha Industries has always remained true to its military heritage.
Today these trendy jackets are unmistakably original, and feature a more modern, tailored look in a variety of colors to keep things interesting for menswear enthusiasts.
MA-1 SKYMASTER FLIGHT JACKET FIT CHECK
Although the MA-1 Skymaster is labeled as a standard fit, it actually fits more like a slim. The jacket fits snug around the body without any billowing. The sleeves aren’t baggy like many other bomber jacket styles out there. I’ve gotta say, the fit is on point, while still allowing for comfortable movement. If there’s one criticism, it’s that the sleeves run a bit long. No problem though since the bomber looks good with rolled up sleeves or cuffs.
I’m around 5’5″, 135 lbs. these days and I opted for a X-Small. This is my main choice for most brands since I prefer a more slim-fitting, tailored aesthetic.
The Fit Finder is a highly accurate algorithm that predicts your size based on these factors:
- Height and weight
- How loose or tight you prefer your jacket to fit
- Other brand jacket size (they have a list of 3000 other brands)
- Belly shape, chest shape, and age
MA-1 SKYMASTER FLIGHT JACKET DETAILS
If you know me, then you know that I’m all about the details. It’s really what makes all the difference when it comes to great style.
The notable details of the MA-1 Skymaster are the ubiquitous red “Remove Before Flight” keychain tag on the sleeve and the “Born of Purpose” decal on the back.
One detail that isn’t visible is what’s hidden inside the utility pocket on the sleeve. There are 2 plastic bullets, which adds to the MA-1 Skymaster’s authentic vibe. Pretty cool, right? Make them metal and it’d be even cooler.
Did you know?
The nylon-web oxygen tab with contrast stitching on the front of the jacket is a unique detail that pays homage to the original mil-spec MA-1 that had the tab so pilots could clip their masks to it.
List of MA-1 Skymaster flight/bomber jacket details:
- Water-resistant shell
- Heavy duty brass zippers
- Ribbed, knit collar, cuffs and waistband
- Alpha wings screen print on the back below the collar
- Zip front and Zippered utility/pencil pocket on the sleeve
- Two flap pockets with snap closures and two interior welt pockets
- Red “Remove Before Flight” keychain tag (from what I know, all their jackets have one)
PRICE & ADDITIONAL INFO.
The Alpha Industries MA-1 Skymaster flight/bomber jacket, right now is $140. A bit pricier than many other options out there. (H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, Asos, etc…) But in my opinion it’s worth it because you’re not just wearing a standard bomber, you’re wearing a story and a heritage. It’s feels special, especially if you know the history.
Be sure to check for discounts on a site like RetailMeNot or just Google “Alpha Industries discounts/promo codes.” I was able to snag 15% off with free shipping. Their standard shipping is around $15 which is excessive if you ask me.
You can also forgo shipping entirely by picking it up on Amazon.
One last thing—return shipping is on you, so you’ll want to nail the fit on the first go-round. Remember to use their Fit Finder to nail down your fit.
IN THE END
The MA-1 Skymaster flight/bomber jacket is the perfect intersection between style and function.
It’s classic, it’s trendy. You can even elevate your look with a pair of dark wash denim and suede chelseas, for example.
So if you’re looking for classic street style, then the MA-1 Skymaster just might be what you’re looking for.
All photos are courtesy of Erica Torres, Founder of ETPhotography.
Erica and I shot for about 4 hours in 3 different locations. We started in Chinatown then moved along to Old City and finally landed at Penns Landing to wrap up the shoot.
Her photography speaks for itself and though she’s no videographer, she did great with her first shoot. I’m already looking forward to collaborating again.
What are your thoughts on the MA-1 Skymaster?
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